Compulsory Acquisition of Land

What is the process for compulsorily acquiring land in New South Wales?

What are the main steps?

The main steps are as follows:

  1. A notice is issued that proposes to acquire the land – the acquiring authority, for example a local council or Transport NSW, issues a notice of their intention to acquire the land. This has to be given to each person with an interest in the land (not just the owner).
  2. There is a notice period which must be observed before the land is acuqired – in most instances in NSW the notice must be given at least 90 days before the land is compulsorily acquired.
  3. A declaration is made in the NSW Gazette that the land is acquired – following the notice period, the acquiring authority can delcare that the land is compulsorily acquired by  publishing a notice in the NSW Gazette. The land is compulsorily acquired on the date the notice is published in the NSW Gazette.

Who is entitled to compensation?

The “owner of an interest in land which is divested, extinguished or diminished” by an acquisition is entitled to be paid compensation in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.

A wide range of people could be considered to be “owners of an interest in land“. Note that this does not just mean the owner of the land – it is much broader. For example, it can also include persons with a lease over the land, or persons with other interests in the land like easements or covenants.

How is a claim for compensation made?

A claim for compensation is made in the accordance with a form provided by the relevant acquisition authority. Generally, an applicant will also provide additional material (like valuation reports, evidence of development consents on the site, evidence of financial losses including legal fees) to support their claim.

How is the amount of compensation determined?

To determine the amount of compensation that a person is entitled, matters that can be taken into consideration include:

  • the market value of the land on the date it is acquired (including a consideration of the potential of the land).
  • any “special value” of the land to the person on the date of its acquisition.
  • any loss attributable to the land being severed from other land that the person has an interest in.
  • any loss attributable to disturbance caused to a person by the acquisition (such as costs that are incurred by a person in connection with the compulsory acquisition of the land).
  • the non-financial disadvantages as a result of the need to relocate from a person’s home.
  • any increase or decrease in the value of any other land of the person at the date of acquisition which adjoins or is severed from the acquired land.

For legal assistance in regards to the compulsory acquisition of land, contact Alyce Kliese by clicking here.

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Alyce is a civil engineer and a practicing lawyer, who has a desire to share her insights on the legal and practical realities of the development industry.